As Common Core standards become the norm in Kansas classrooms, some parents say their children aren't learning what they should.
"He's in 5th grade, an A student, you know? And I said, 'Yes, why don't you do the math, $3.50 plus $3.50.' He said, 'Mom, that's $8,'" recounts Rainey Dugan about a recent incident with her son. He'd had two years of math taught using methods advocated by the Common Core standards.
Only about a third of parents are aware of Common Core standards, which go into full use for the first time this year.
According to the interim Kansas Education Commissioner, Common Core came about as states tried to fill the holes in the education process left by an aging No Child Left Behind Act. He told Eyewitness News it was designed to make sure kids are ready for college or advanced technical training when they finish high school.
But some parents are so against the Common Core standards they tried to get them banned in Kansas.
"For me, just the fact that there is so much controversy raises a red flag," said Jody Dendurent, a Wichita mother and engineer.
She, Dugan and Shirley Koehn are all members of the growing group Kansans Against Common Core. An engineer, a homemaker, and a retired teacher, each came to the movement for different reasons.
"Everybody listening to this needs to do their own research," said Shirley Koehn during her interview with Eyewitness News.
They all have one thing in common, they think the new standards in Kansas are a bad idea for our kids.
Dugan says her children have been frustrated with trying to learn in the new style advocated by Common Core. She says they're not really learning what they should, while struggling to learn things they're not developmentally ready for, and that many of the Common Core-aligned materials being used in the classroom just aren't right.
"They're doing a lot of estimating and tallying. So, you know, he can't even do basic math," said Dugan about her fifth grade son. "After these two years of doing the Simple Solutions math."
"I don't see anything wrong with the standards that Kansas had," said parent Jody Dendurent, who believes the Common Core standards were designed to fix failing schools. "Overall, I don't think Kansas schools were failing."
Some are worried about where the standards came from and the possiblity of federal and corporate control of the educational process in Kansas.
"If you follow the trail backwards and if you follow the money, you know, there's billons of dollars that are backing this from a corporate standpoint," said Dendurent.
Eyewitness News took their concerns to Kansas' interim Education Commissioner.
"It's hard to give an answer to that," said Brad Neuenswander. "Because, really, we did the same process that we do every seven years."
He says Kansas has a history of revising its standards on a seven-year cycle. This last cycle coincided with the introduction of Common Core.
Then, there are worries about privacy and who has access to it.
"I think they were talking about collecting some 400 points of data," said retired teacher Shirley Koehn. "When you look at Target was hacked, banks have been hacked, so who's to say that that is just going to be there?"
She's also concerned about testing companies and textbook companies getting access to the data.
"Because of the standards we don't collect anything more than we used to," said Neuenswander. "We collect enrollment information basically so we can fund the school." Then he added, "What we submit to the U.S. Department of Education on testing data is what percent of our kids met what performance. Again it's aggregate. And, we're unique in Kansas because the group that does our testing is out of KU, it's local. It's 20 miles away from our office. So all of our testing stays in Kansas."
Some say the tougher, more rigorous standards require students to learn material they're not developmentally ready for.
"The things they're teaching them, expecting these children to learn on their own, are several years above the concepts they should be learning," said Dugan.
"Kids can learn different math concepts at a much earlier age than we ever thought they could," said Neuenswander. "To the point where they're starting to get bored."
"When you have a toddler at home and they're going to touch the hot stove, you don't sit down and explain the laws of thermodynamics," said Dendurent.
The list of complaints continues to grow.
Some parents are so upset over the new standards they've pulled their children out of school.
"We started homeschooling our children in March, our four younger children," said Dugan. But even then, she felt they couldn't completely get away from Common Core. "And so I was looking through materials. and even homeschool materials are going to be Common Core-aligned."
The concerns about Common Core raised here are just the very basics. Opponents say there are many more.
Kansans Against Common Core is a non-profit organization with membership across the state. Leadership told Eyewitness News they get inquiries from more Kansans every day.